We recommend breaking up the train journey from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi into three parts, as the journey of 1,726 km takes 33 to 38 hours which is a long time to spend on a train. Part 1 of the 3 stages we recommend breaking the trip into was from Ho Chi Minh City to Nha Trang, which is scheduled to take from 7 to 9 hours depending upon which train you take.
For Part 2 of the journey from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi we recommend staying on the train for a bit longer than the first stage by travelling from Nha Trang to Hue. This journey is scheduled to take from 12 to 14 hours, again depending upon which train you take. Because of the length of the journey we advise travelling overnight on Train #SE8 as the timing of the train allows you to do more sightseeing in Nha Trang and to arrive in Hue early enough for a full day of sightseeing there as well. The only downside of taking this train is that you miss out on some great scenery near Hue, about which we will explain more later. The next train after #SE8 departs at 23:39 which is inconvenient because that means you spend a long time waiting for the train after check out time at your hotel in Nha Trang.
Train Times from Nha Trang to Hue
There are currently 4 direct train services a day from Nha Trang to Hue.
Train Travel from Nha Trang to Hue
If you do decide to travel from Nha Trang to Hue on Train #SE8 you have plenty of time to see the two best temples in Nha Trang. We suggest that you visit Po Nagar Temple first, which is north of Nha Trang Railway Station, early in the morning before you return to check out of your hotel.
The second temple we suggest that you visit during the time you need to wait for Train #SE8 to depart is Long Son Pagoda. Long Son Pagoda is 500 metres walk from Nha Trang Railway Station and it has a great vegetarian restaurant. This temple also great views over Nha Trang City and the surrounding countryside. There is a small outdoor cafe in front of Nha Trang Railway Station where you can relax with a drink after visiting Long Son Pagoda before boarding your train.
We recommend that you book a ‘soft-sleeper’ for the overnight journey from Nha Trang to Hue. Booking well in advance is a good idea so that you don’t get stuck with a ‘hard-sleeper’ or an upper bunk. You can use the Search Box below to book your train tickets online.
The main problems with upper bunks on Vietnamese trains are that you can’t see out of the window and it is difficult to get into an upper bunk. Vietnamese trains don’t have ladders like Thai trains, but rather a single foot rest which you fold down and therefore need to stretch quite far to reach with your foot and thereafter swing yourself onto the bunk in a single movement. You need some agility to manage this manoeuvre and it’s generally inconvenient. If you do get stuck with an upper we suggest that you go the restaurant car and sit in there until you want to go to sleep so you can enjoy the scenery.
The train line from Nha Trang to Hue closely follows the coast line for large parts of the journey, and it’s pretty scenery on this journey. The downside of taking Train #SE8 is that you depart at 14:25 and get about 2 hours 30 minutes of daylight before arriving at the scheduled time of 03:23 in Hue. This means that you travel through the most spectacular stretch of Vietnam’s railway network, the Hai Van Pass between Da Nang and Hue, at night when you can’t see anything.
Hue Railway Station is located to the west of Hue town centre near to the Perfume River. If you arrive on Train #SE8 at 03:23 (or thereabout) it will still be dark and way too early for even the most helpful hotelier to allow you to check into you room. The best thing to do is to go to the cafes on the opposite of the car park in front of Hue Railway Station and have some breakfast waiting there until it starts to get light. These cafes are the only places you are likely to find open in Hue at that time in the morning.
What we suggest that you do next is to take a leisurely stroll along the banks of the Perfume River to the Imperial Citadel. Its a very pleasant 2.1 km walk from Hue Railway Station to the Imperial Citadel especially early in the morning when its not too hot and people are exercising by the river. If you have lots of bags go and talk to the gentleman who runs the cafe on the far left hand side of the row of cafes opposite the front of the train station and for a small fee he keep your bags safe whilst you visit the Imperial Citadel. The Imperial Citadel opens just before 08:00 and that is great time to visit because its not hot and there be absolutely no other tourists there as they tend to arrive later, often in large tour groups. which is guaranteed to lessen your enjoyment of this fantastic historical site.
Buy Train Tickets to Hue
Use the Search Box below to buy your train tickets for the second stage of the journey from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi (Nha Trang to Hue):
Location of Nha Trang Station
Nha Trang Railway Station is located 2 km by road from Nha Trang Beach.
Location of Hue Train Station
Hue Railway Station is located 7.5 km by road from from the Tomb of Khai Dinh.